Michael Douglas was mistaken for his child’s grandfather at college parents’ day: ‘That was a rough one’

‘Basic Instinct’ star explains why parenting later in life made him a better father

Meredith Clark
New York
Tuesday 23 April 2024 22:26 BST
Related: Michael Douglas confused for daughter’s grandfather

Michael Douglas has opened up about the ups and downs of being a parent later in life.

In an interview with the Telegraph published on 20 April, the 79-year-old actor described the challenges of raising children into his 70s. Speaking to the outlet, the Basic Instinct star recalled a moment when he was confused for his child’s grandfather while visiting them at college.

“This is not grandfather’s day, this is parents’ day. I say, ‘I am a parent!’” he said. “That was a rough one.”

The Oscar-winning actor shares two children – son Dylan, 23, and daughter Carys, 20 – with his wife of nearly 25 years, actor Catherine Zeta-Jones. Douglas is also a father to his 45-year-old son, Cameron Douglas, whom he welcomed with his ex-wife, Diandra Luker.

The Fatal Attraction star, who became a father for the second time when he was over 50 years old, admitted that having a second family later in life allowed him to be a better father than he was to his son Cameron.

“Cameron suffered a lot from that time,” Douglas told the outlet, noting that he was “overwhelmed and overloaded” by his career while raising his eldest son. He explained that his family life had taken “third place” in his list of priorities at the time, as opposed to when he started a family with Zeta-Jones.

“And you’ve done enough work already that you were looking more to enjoy the opportunity and the kids,” Douglas acknowledged. Although the Wall Street star admitted that he struggled to keep up with Dylan and Carys when they were younger, he said that he and his wife now enjoy being “empty nesters”.

“This has been a great time for me but I’ve been very fortunate,” Douglas shared. “Catherine and I have been together, it’ll be 25 years this year. So it’s been a good ride and I’ve been very fortunate, happy with the choices that I’ve made and now am kind of really backing off and smelling the roses a little more, travelling more.”

The Golden Globe winner also thanked his children for being “extraordinary beings” and “a joy” to have in his life. “They brought both Catherine and I just a tremendous amount of joy,” he added.

Douglas began dating the Welsh actor in 1999 after meeting at the Deauville American Film Festival in France. The couple were married one year later at the iconic Plaza Hotel in New York City. Since then, the actors have never shied away from celebrating their love on social media, where the Wednesday actor often posts photos honouring her decades-long relationship with Douglas.

In November 2023, she marked their 23rd wedding anniversary by posting a series of photos of the couple over the years. “Today we celebrate 23 years of marriage,” she captioned the Instagram post. The first image in the slideshow showed Zeta-Jones and Douglas sharing a kiss at their wedding, along with another photo of them walking down the aisle.

“Darling Michael, your Nobel Peace Prize awaits,” she jokingly added. “I love you… from your darling wife, a gold star Medal of Honour recipient.”

Despite being married for more than two decades, Zeta-Jones hasn’t missed an opportunity to poke fun at their 25-year age gap. In 2022, the Chicago star appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers where she spoke about their 22nd wedding anniversary.

“I know. Can you imagine 22 years? And we have the same birthday. So 25 September is our same birthday,” she told the audience, before noting: “25 years difference. Not the same day.”

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